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review 2020-06-05 21:00
THE ATTIC TRAGEDY by J. Ashley-Smith
The Attic Tragedy - J. Ashley-Smith

Beautifully written, this novella was a short and dark visit inside the mind of a young woman.

 

Georgina, (George), became friends with Sylvie in a rather dark antique shop. There, Sylvie shares a secret; she can tell where an object has been just by touching it. George though? George never shares her secret with Sylvie or anyone else, (at least not verbally). Why not? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Right from the get-go, right from the opening line:"Sylvie never called them ghosts, but that's what they were." THE ATTIC TRAGEDY had me in its grip. This is a poignant tale about unrequited love, about feeling that you're different, that you're never a part of things, never at home, even in your own body. During your teen years, (which is where this book began), one is always feeling awkward and out of place to start with. Add in a few of the issues these teens were experiencing and it adds up to an almost unbearable state. Did I mention there's a supernatural aspect to this story as well? At least, I think there was...

 

I'm surprised at how much feeling the author was able to pack into this novella, (perhaps novelette, technically speaking). Please believe me when I say, Mr. Ashley-Smith can write. In one scene where George wants to reach out to Sylvie, there's this description:

 

"My fingers stretched and recoiled, daring then afraid, expanding and contracting like some skittish undersea creature; the kind of thing that dwells in shadow on the ocean floor, its hideous misshapen body an insult to nature."

 

So vivid, so beautiful, so easy to picture. My heart went out to both of these young women, but especially to George. I have to wonder what would have happened had things worked out differently. I do know I'll be thinking about both of them for a while. This was my first experience with this author and I hope to read more of his work in the future!

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Meerkat Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-06-05 00:24
THe Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel - Grady Hendrix

I’m a little late to this one so I’ll only add my one cent instead of my usual two. You’re welcome, lol. Also, everyone else has already said all the things and said them better than I ever could at this point.

 

So I'll start off with my complaint because, sorry for those who don’t know, I’m kind of a jerk. This book about proper southern housewives and the possible pasty-ass vampire in their midst is set in the ’90s and I continually felt as if I were reading a book set in the ’70s. It might be because the whole housewife under the thumb of her man is rather foreign to me and it feels  outdated in the ’90s but I could probably chalk this up to different life experiences. Anyhow, I pretended it was set in the late ’70s and it was easier to swallow the fact that these ladies were feeling so beholden to their menfolk. And, argggghhh, these men. They are all so TERRIBLE. Terrible, horrible, evil, selfish creatures who were rude and condescending and infuriating whenever they were on the page.  I’m not even talking about the vampiric one either. He’s even worse but at least he has a bit of an excuse. He IS a monster. He is expected to behave like a monster (and damn does he ever!) The rest of these dudes are simply vile humans and I’m so glad all men weren’t like this in the ’90s and that’s all I have to say about that.

 

Whew, sorry about that. The rest of the book is fantastic. It’s full of dark humor and takes its time with the horror. The opening chapters set the scene and bring the characters and their daily struggles to life but when the horror happens hold on tight because things get creepy, disturbing, and gross. These ladies are smart and when no one will listen to them (see above) after children start disappearing and other horrible things happen, they have to take matters into their own hands and things get gloriously grisly. 

 

“Let me tell you something there’s nothing nice about Southern Ladies.”

 

I’d like to see a sequel where the husbands are taken care of properly in the end. And when I say taken care of properly, I mean served up on a platter instead of being waited on by their ladies. Sorry, but I can only speaketh the truth.

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review 2020-06-04 12:24
The Magic Cottage
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert

by James Herbert

 

James Herbert can always be relied on to present an interesting story and this is one of his best. A couple looking for a house of their own are drawn to a remote cottage called Gramarye ("magic'' in old English) in the New Forest. It's a little over their price range but in need of serious repairs, leaving room for a little negotiation. Midge, the wife, is adamant that she must have this cottage and suddenly the money to make the difference appears in a rational way. She is an illustrator of children's books and the husband, Mike, is a session musician. Jobs arise in their usual haphazard fashion. The one unusual aspect of the transaction is that the previous owner had some odd criteria for whom the cottage could be sold to detailed in her will.

 

Mike is a city boy, but Midge grew up in the country so she adapts to the lifestyle change fastest. Mike takes a little longer to warm to remote life, especially when unexplainable things start to happen.

 

Things get a little weird from the start and progress as the story goes on. To explain further would require too many spoilers, but I can say that someone else wants the cottage for their own purposes. Discovering the nature of those purposes is an important part of the plot.

 

My favorite character was a little squirrel named Rumbo. I have no objection to most of the human characters, but this little guy was a heart stealer. All I'll say about the ending is that there was plenty of action and drama, though the magic aspect deviated into the sensational. It made for a very entertaining read all the way through.

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text 2020-05-31 21:15
Reading progress update: I've read 85%.
In a Dark, Dark Wood - Ruth Ware

WTF?

 

 

‘How do you know,’ she says quietly, ‘that I haven’t already done that?’

Oh my God. I feel weak with horror.

I take a long gulp of tea, my teeth chattering at the edge of the mug, and I try to think, try to gather the strands of all this together. This is not true.

Clare

(spoiler show)

is screwing with my head. No sane person would be sitting here drinking tea with a woman who

murdered her fiancé and tried to drive their car off the road

(spoiler show)

.

 

And yet, and yet... Seriously, WTF?!

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text 2020-05-31 20:56
Reading progress update: I've read 83%.
In a Dark, Dark Wood - Ruth Ware

Bwahahaha... The way this is going, my predictions may - for the first time ever - be spot on!

 

This story is ridiculous, and for being a crime writer, our MC is seriously lacking in powers of observation, but I have to say that this has been a vary entertaining read.  

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